Going with Marc to cocoa farms in the southern provinces of Tien Giang and Ben Tre, we witnessed his passion at work. He often directly signs contracts with farmers to buy raw cocoa beans at higher prices provided that the quality of the materials meet the standards set by his company.
Marc Vanborren Alfons E, a Belgianwho wasborn in 1958,has a great affinity for Vietnamese cocoa beans.
During a trip with his friends to some provinces in the Mekong River delta in Vietnam,
Cocoa farmers must follow strict regulations on cultivating cocoato have high qualitycocoa beans.
Cocoa beans in each region has its own flavour.
Marc Vanborren Alfons E checks the cocoa bean quality.
Marc Vanborren Alfons E talks about cocoa cultivation with farmers.
Marc Vanborren Alfons E talks about the way how to recognisehigh-quality cocoa beans.
Tran Van Nhi, a cocoa farmer in Binh Trung hamlet, Thanh Nhut commune, Go Cong Tay district, Tien Giang province who supplies cocoa beans for Marc’s company, said, “After harvesting, the cocoa beans must be processed through different stages such as brewing and fermenting as required by the company. They have modern machines to check the quality of the beans so we must meet strict requirements in terms of quality”.
At present, the family of Nhi has 6,000m2 for growing cocoa with a total product of 1.8tonnes of cocoa beans/year. To ensure that the cocoa beans have the best flavour, Marc and Nhin often exchange ideas on tending the plants, harvesting and preliminarily processing the cocoa beans. Seeing Marc carefully measuring the size of the cocoa fruit and tasting the beans, we understood Marc’s desire to produce high-end chocolate bars.
Checking chocolate qualtiy
Talking about Vietnamese cocoa, Marc said: “If the farmers follow the proper care and processing stages, Vietnam’s cocoa beans have a high quality like those of other countries in the world. It is interesting that despite the same variety, cocoa beans cultivated in each region such as Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Dong Nai and Ba Ria, have different flavours.
To produce Vietnamese high-end chocolate and cocoa products, Marc said that it is necessary to have a good coordination among producers, farmers and customers.
Marc Vanborren Alfons E was born in Belgium in 1958. During a trip with his friends to Vietnam, Marc saw farms of cocoa trees laded with fruit in some provinces in the Cuu Long River delta. As a chocolate lover, Marc was always obsessed with Vietnamese cocoa beans so he spent much time learning about the country and the plants and found that there were only a few companies producing chocolate in Vietnam. The country has a good and abundant resource of materials for cocoa production.
In 2015, Marc left Belgium for Vietnam to invest in a chocolate plant in Vinh Loc A commune in Binh Chanh district, Ho Chi Minh City. Marc’s bold investment soon brought benefit and his Belvie chocolate brand has been praised by European consumers for its quality.